I didn’t realize that idiocy was so flammable

As previously mentioned, I drove down to Arabi on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and photographed what’s left of LeBeau Plantation. There was police tape strung across the property line along the road, but I just stepped over it. It was obvious I wasn’t there to vandalize the place or anything and I didn’t seriously think anyone would call the po-po on me, but I was technically trespassing on a crime scene so I didn’t hang out. I didn’t rush, but I did my thing and left. (The gaping hole in the chain link at the back of the house is still there, but I guess the damage has been done.)

I also shot film in the LC-A+ and the Ultra Wide & Slim, but didn’t finish the rolls. These are the digital shots.

LeBeau: after the fire

LeBeau: after the fire

The whole thing still stank of charred wood. And the property was all muddy even though it hadn’t rained in several days, because they kept the fire hoses on for hours, to make sure it didn’t flare back up.

LeBeau: after the fire

LeBeau: after the fire

LeBeau: after the fire

I think public stocks need to be brought back as punishment for shit like this. Put those morons in them for a week, plunk down a giant bin of rotten vegetables, and let people hurl away. Look, I was young and dumb once, I drank and smoked pot, and obviously I understand the allure of abandoned properties. But holy fuckballs, I never did anything a fraction as stupid or callous as purposely setting fire to a 165-year-old building.

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LeBeau Plantation: 1850-2013


I sold a print of this house, which Trish and I photographed last April, on Friday morning. Which is good, but the reason why I sold it sucks: it burned to the ground about 2:00 in the morning.


The woman who bought the print said her husband grew up across the street from the house and used to play in it as a kid, so she wants to give him the print as a Christmas present. He was one of nine kids, and they all played there as children, so she might be buying more.

No one’s lived there in decades and it has no electricity, so when I heard about it I pretty much figured it had to be arson. But I thought it would turn out be accidental: teens having a bonfire or homeless people trying to stay warm, it got out of hand, oops. Turns out it was deliberately set by a bunch of grown-ass men; they were drunk and smoking pot and trying to “summon ghosts” (the place has a reputation of being haunted, which I’m sure is bullshit), and when they didn’t show up, one of them decided to set the place on fire. You can’t see it, but I’m making the angriest, most disgusted face you ever saw right now.

I never could figure out who owned this property when I researched it earlier in the year; turns out a foundation has owned it since the 1960s with the stated intention of restoring it. They’ve collected about $100 million towards that goal and spent about 1% of it, mostly in the form of huge salaries for themselves. Typical Louisiana corruption, in other words. Too bad they couldn’t have parted with some of that money to hire a night watchman.

It’s a very eerie feeling, to know that something I photographed is gone forever. That must have been how Clarence John Laughlin felt towards the end of his life, going over the plates for Ghosts Along the Mississippi and realizing that about 1/3 of those houses are just gone.

I’d like to go photograph what’s left, but that’s going to have to wait because it’s probably still an active crime scene right now.

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my usual attitude towards babies can be summed up as “meh”

But I have to admit, this made me tear up a little: Formerly deaf baby reacts upon hearing his mother’s voice for the first time.


I know there is some oppostion to cochlear implants in the Deaf community and I really, really do not understand it. I get deaf people having a deaf identity, since they have their own language and schools and form of etiquette and manners. But deafness is not like being black or gay, and cochlear implants is not a “cultural genocide” akin to forcing Jewish people to convert to Lutheranism!! I feel like Will Ferrell in Zoolander whenever this argument comes up: I FEEL LIKE I’M TAKING CRAZY PILLS!!!

Deaf people have a right to an identity, and deaf adults should absolutely never be forced against their will to have a cochlear implant. But they* need to stop harassing doctors who perform the surgery and people who choose to get them, or to get them for their children. Besides, not everyone is a candidate for the implant, so as it stands now, deaf culture is in no danger of disappearing.

This is an 8-month-old baby, free of any bias or propaganda, and his reaction is raw, pure amazed joy. In between all the atom bombs and heroin and shit, occasionally science gets one right.

*Not all deaf people, obviously. Just a metaphorically vocal minority.

craigslist scam, Y/N?

My job search was on hold for a while. See, I answered a boatload of craigslist ads my second week after moving down here, and did not receive so much as one. single. answer. I started to suspect that was because my parents did not have any version of Word installed on their computer, forcing me to send out my resumé in WordPerfect. Which is basically the online equivalent of handing someone a resumé written in crayon.

So after 6 weeks of cajoling and conniving, I succeeded in getting them to reformat the hard drive and add more memory, then purchased Office and installed it. (What the hell is OneNote, anyway?) And the search began anew a week ago. And I have at least gotten a few nibbles, although one reeks of scamola. Here is a timeline of events:

1. I answered an ad for an “administrative assistant” (standard office monkey type job) on Friday afternoon.

2. An alleged photographer looking for a personal assistant emails me back Friday evening and asks for references; says he’s out of the country a lot and probably won’t be able to meet me face-to-face for a while (GIANT RED FLAG #1). Mentions that he has some things I “can assist him with” this week (GIANT RED FLAG #2).

3. I email back my references and answering some other questions he has (nothing like what’s my SSN and mother’s maiden name or anything), tell him I am ready and eager to start employment, but will not be able to asisst him in his work until I have a written employment agreement.

4. Google confirms this guy is who he says he is. Or at least there is a photographer named Michael Ray; I suppose the guy posting the ad and emailing me could be any swinging dick.

5. Early this morning he emails me back, saying he wants to “test my effiency” (GIANT RED FLAG #3) by having me post the same ad I answered to, verbatim, on craiglist, to any 25 of the free cities (GIANT RED FLAG #4). He claims this is “for a colleague” and I have to set up a Gmail and craigslist account in his name (GIANT RED FLAG #5).

6. I send him an email a little while ago, basically telling him to take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut.

BONUS GIANT RED FLAG: When I realized he was asking me to post what looked like the same ad I answered and compared them (I always bookmark the ads I answer), I realized one of the tasks was “Verify information on rental agreements”. Why the hell would a personal assistant to a photographer need to deal with rental agreements?

Did I just shoot myself in the foot? He didn’t ask for $$$ or anything obvious, but I got a reeeal hinky feeling about the whole thing. And they always say the best way to avoid being scammed is to trust your instincts. Although not everyone has impeccable scam-detection instaincts, or people wouldn’t STILL be falling for those Nigerian things.

i can’t tell if muting makes them less creepy or more, but i’m not going to unmute them to find out

Is it just me, or have commercials taken a turn for the ultra creepy lately?

The Burger King “tiny hands” campaign. OH DEAR GOD NO

The giant insects in the Orkin commercials. Are you trying to make me vomit in terror?

Nationwide Insurance’s “World’s Greatest Spokeperson in the World”, who is definitely a serial hatchet murderer. You can probably read all about the people whose chopped-up bodies are hidden under his floorboards on his Facebook.

Honorable mention: Centennial Wireless’s “naked guy”, which — luckily for you — I couldn’t find a picture of. (And I don’t recommend image Googling “[blank] naked guy” on your parents’ computer.) I never would have seen this excrable ad campaign if I hadn’t moved to Louisiana. They even have billboards of him. The tagline is “You’re covered”; hence the nakedness. Of course, his naughty bits are always conveniently covered. I mean, I guess it’s supposed to be cheeky, but it’s just yucky to me. For one thing, he’s obviously been slathered in self-tanner. And when he walks around in the teevee spots, his little moobs jiggle. NOT SEXY.

But the worst is when he’s totally naked, except he’s wearing a necktie. Ties on shirtless men totally gross me out. There’s probably some 13-syllable Latin word for it. Naturally, I am not a fan of the Chippendales.

shorter* alan kaufman: “the kindle will lead directly to genocide”

You know who else liked to make crazy nonsensical comparisons between irredeemable evil and neutral technology? HITLER!

We should all go live in caves and wipe our butts with pine cones, because technology can be misused.

I’m sorry, but this is some Art Bell-grade craziness. How the hell do you even connect those 2 dots (the Kindle and the Holocaust)? Not to mention that without technology, Alan Kaufman would probably have died of whooping cough or the mumps as a child. …so yeah, it does have its downfalls. BA DUM DUM.

Seriously though Alan, wipe the rabid foam from your chin and download something soothing. Like maybe your own book (Did I say “soothing”? I meant “boring drivel”.), which is available on the Kindle.

Via Daze, who concludes “Mike Godwin shit his pants somewhere and had no idea why.”

*”Shorter” format stolen from Sadly, No!

apparently william safire is one of the 17 billion famous people who have died thus far in 2009

William Safire was a lot of things, including a professional Grammar Nazi, and whatever you call someone who was a cheerleader for the Iraq War and claimed it would be over within weeks and insisted Hussein engineered 9/11 and that Iraq had WMDs. And who also never retracted any of those statements. A moron?

Anyway, he also wrote some fancy words for our Worst Quaker President Ever, Richard Nixon. And one of the weirder things about being a presidential speech writer is that you have to write speeches for all the different outcomes of national, historic events, some of which never get used. It’s like that old SNL skit where Dana Carvey is playing Tom Brokaw, and he’s going on vacation, so he has to pre-tape a bunch of wildly implausible announcements, including one in which Former President Gerald Ford has been eaten by wolves.

Here is one that has surfaced recently. He wrote it in 1969, in case the Apollo 11 astronauts got stranded on the moon:

Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

That is terrible, Safire. Wherever you are now, you should be hanging your head in shame.

This will probably provide years of wingnut fodder to moon landing hoaxers. Hopefully it will also lead to lots more of them getting punched in the face by Buzz Aldrin.

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